tv [untitled] CSPAN June 17, 2009 11:00am-11:30am EDT
not yet. >> i would encourage you to go. because i think beyond guantanamo bay detainees, there is a group on a base that are non-afghan fighters that are probably never going to go in the afghan legal system for lots of reasons. some have been there three or four years, frankly, and we need to evaluate that population, see if we can bring them back to this new system whatever it is, reintegrate them into this system. some will have to be brought back here in our system and we're likely to capture more during the upcoming surge of troops.
and i'd like to speak as chairman of the intelligence committee. we saw the april article. the tenlts committee held a hearing. we asked the questions. we were assured it was not correct. i have since spent time with general alexander, i've gone over this chapter in verse and i do not believe that any content is reviewed in this
program. we will hold another hearing and we will go into it again. and i'm surprised by this article because they're two very good journalists who have written it and yet everything that i know so far indicates that the thrust of the story, that there are flagrant actions essentially, to collection content of this collection just simply is not true to the best of my knowledge. now, we will look more deeply into it, mr. chairman, and i'll be very pleased to let you know what we find. >> once you have, if you could brief senator sessions and myself and staff on that issue. >> we would be happy to do that. and we are well aware of the concerns about it. and so we will continue with this.
if i may welcome the attorney general. for almost a year i asked the attorney general, namely lou kasey, to release the opinion and that opinion concluded that the fourth amendment did not apply to military operations on united states soil. the opinion was finally made public this march. it was released together with a memo written in 2008 which instructed attorneys that, quote, caution should be exercised before relying, end quote, on the 2001 opinion. called the opinion's conclusions incorrect or highly questionable. and rendering much of the opinion void. what i'd like to know is, has this opinion ever been withdrawn in its entirety? >> senator, i would have to check on that. i believe so.
but let me just check to make sure on that and get back to you. i'm not sure about -- i don't have in my memory right now what the impact of the president's withdrawal of the opinions early on, whether that was concluded. >> well, this is a big opinion on the fourth amendment with respect to american citizens and american military. so i think it's important that we clarify it and could you bring us up to date on what you are doing to review the o.l.c. opinions and what actions you've taken? >> well, we released some of the o.l.c. opinions some weeks ago. i'm not sure exactly when. the review that led to that release continues and as we finish that review and make the determination that opinions can be releetsed -- released in a way that's consistent with our national security and protects also internal deliberations of the executive branch, we will make releases -- make further releases. one of the things that would be very helpful in that regard and
this is an advertisement, i suppose, maybe i'm totally responsive, but it would be great to have don johnson confirmed as the head of o.l.c. that is a critical part in getting that review underway, having the person who ultimately had that part, critical part of the department, in place. but the people there now are doing the best that they can and we will continue the process that led to the release of those other opinions. >> thank you very much. recently i had a meeting on -- in the san diego area on the southwest border. it was a meeting of the top officials of all of the departments, f.b.i., d.e.a., d.a., etc. and i learned something quite surprising and i'd like to say what it is. and ask you to take a good look. and that is that virtually all of the narcotics traffic in this country, the roots that -- routes that drugs travel, the people who control those drugs, the hits that are ordered, are
essentially control hed by certain gangs in federal prisons and some state prisons today. and they even gave me the names of the prisons. i spoke to bob muller, i've told him about this. i want to bring it to your attention publicly. it is not acceptable that narcotics trafficking directions be given out of federal or state prisons. and i'd like to ask you to make a thorough investigation. i'd be happy to give you the information that i have that i'm not going to discuss here but what i'm asking you is a commitment to take a big, strong, in depth look at this. >> sure. i will certainly do that. there are certainly measures in place, the monitoring of telephone calls, the monitoring of people who visit with people who are detained, certainly in the federal system for which i'm responsible. but i'll certainly look at the information that you have
expressed concern about and see if there are things that we need to do better on the federal side and also interact with our state partners to see if there are ways in which we can help them in that regard. >> thank you very much and i'm happy to fill you in. i just wanted to pick up on what senator kohl and senator graham said about this one group of detainee, as you've said the loss of war provide for the detention of a combatant for the length of the conflict. once a military commission declares somebody an enemy combatant and the decision is made that they remain a national security risk, there is a necessity as we have all discussed to provide a due process review of that individual periodically. has that due process review been decided upon? if so, who would conduct it and how often would those reviews take place? >> no, we have not decided that. both with regard to where that
review would occur and how frequently it should occur. we are discussing internally. it is something, though, that i think we want to work with the members of this committee and congress more generally in coming up with how that should occur, had who should be responsible for both the initial determination and the review and how frequently it should occur. we're going to have ideas but we want to interact with, as i said, members of the committee to get your ideas as well so that the process that ultimately is put in place is one that will have the support of congress. >> please do. senator graham and i have discussed this. others have. we are very he interested and i think have a point of view that we would like the opportunity to express to you. thank you. let's go back to the southwest border for a minute. and more than 10,000 people, as we all know, have been killed in mexico by drug violence since december of 2006. and mexico's attorney general
estimates that $10 billion worth of drug proceeds cross the united states into mexico each year in the form of bulk cash. we held a hearing, we talked to the attorney general of the state of arizona, more or less confirmed a lot of this, so my question is, how much of that cash has been intercepted at the border in 2009? and what role today does the batf and the d.e.a. play in stemming this flow? >> i'd have to get you some numbers on how much we have intercepted in 2009. but we've certainly stepped up our efforts in conjunction with our partners at d.h.s. secretary napolitano and i went to mexico in the early part of the year to talk with our mexican counterparts about the inflow of bulk cash and weapons into mexico and we've tried to come up with ways in which we interdict and stop that amount. d.e.a. has moved significant resources, about 0 eakts, toward the southwest border.
a.t.f. has moved about 100 to the southwest border. the f.b.i. has put together a new intelligence capability along the southwest border, all designed to stop the flow of that material into mexico, but also to stop the flow of drugs from mexico into our country. this is a priority for us. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. attorney general, welcome, thank you for your service. at your confirmation hearing we talked about the civil rights crimes and you had made a commitment to me at that time that you would do whatever you could in your power if congress failed to act to make sure that that was funded. number one, my first question is, have you been successful? and number two, the group that actually motivated the response for that bill and senator dodd and myself had an amendment to try to fund that that was rejected by our colleagues on
the omnibus bill, would like to have a meeting with the justice department, have been turned away and i just think in the nature of your commitment to me, can you answer what you have done to get the funding for them to the bill? and number, two, would you agree to meet with the principles of that organization so we can get these crimes resolved? >> i'd have to look and see, senator, quite frankly where we stand with regard to the budget for next year. i just don't offhand remember how much money, if any money at all, was dedicated to the project that you talk about. but i'll check that and get back to you. but i'd be glad to meet with the people are you talking about, the organization that you're speaking with and -- >> i'll communicate that today. it really is interesting, we pass a bill and we pound our chests around here and then we don't give the money to do it on a very real issue that time is of a major factor because if we don't fund this in
appropriate time we're not going to solve those and we're not going to bring to justice those people who should be brought to justice. >> as i said, i'll reiterate today, i share the concern that you express and i'll do what i can to give life to the concerns. to the mechanism that is in place. but i want to -- >> i'll be happy to help you shuffle that money around. i put out a report last year on $10 billion worth of waste at the justice department so i can offer a critique on where you might find that money. i'm a little concerned about what happened in arkansas, also what happened in kansas and the differential in response. do you view the murder of one of our soldiers in arkansas as a hate crime? >> i don't know all the facts there but it is potentially a hate crime. the response that we use with regard to what happened to the killing of dr. tiller was one where the justice department
has historically usedity resources to protect -- used its resources to protect doctors who engaged in reproductive activities. with regard to the killing of the recruitment officer, that is one that the department of defense has a primary responsibility for, though we have offered our assistance in that regard. >> the prosecution of that would be outside the department of justice? >> oh, no, no, i thought you meant the protection efforts. >> no, i'm talking about the prosecution of that. >> no, that would be the responsibility of the justice department in conjunction with our local partners. this happened in kansas, there's a component of that that's being done by the local prosecutors, being done by us. >> i understand that. do current hate crime laws cover that act? in arkansas? >> if there were a determination made that the killing was based on the race of the victim, yes, i think
there's at least arguable that is but if the motivation was because his mailtary status, i don't think that would be under the hate crime status. >> regardless of what his stated motivations might have been. >> well, that would be one of the things we'd have to consider. what's the motivation of the person. >> should we consider legislating proposals to protect u.s. soldiers at recruiting offices? >> well, i mean i guess we have to look at the ex department of the problem -- extent of the problem. that's not to minimize the seriousness of what happened there. what happened there was deplorable. and not something that should in any way be tolerated. but i think we want to get -- look at what is the nature of and the extent of the hate crime that we are trying to legislate, the categories that we have now, i think we can certainly show that there are substantial numbers of crimes that happen and also with
regard to the categories the administration things we ought to expand it to. with regard to military personnel, i'd want to look and see what the statistics show, what the facts show. >> ok, thank you. well, we'll get into that again. one of the other things that you and i discussed during your hear and i you and i have a different position on this and i respect your position, but a commitment you made was to rigorously review heller prior to making any commitments or recommendation on additional laws restricting the second amendment. have you in fact done that and have you in fact -- did you in fact do that before you issued your recommendation on so-called assault weapons? >> i'm going to say, i'm not sure that i've done anything with regard to weapons. i mean, i'm obviously cognizant of the heller determination. heller decision. but i don't think the department has issued any
rules, regulations, with regard to weapons. >> in terms of recommendation, though, basically you're on record wanting us to repropose an assault weapons ban and the comment you made during your confirmation hearing was in fact that you would do a rigorous review of heller before any he recommendations were made. my question simply is, did you do that and what were the results that have rigorous examination of hell that are caused to you propose a new assault weapons ban? >> well, i don't think that i have in fact said that we need a new assault weapons ban. what i've said is that we need to look at the situation that we have, look at the violence that we have that is gun-related and come up with measures that will effectively deal with that issue. >> actually, on february 25 at a news conference you said you endorsed reinstating the ban on assault weapons. february 25. and my question is, the commitment you made to this committee was that you'd do a
rigorous analysis of heller before you made any recommendations and all i want to know is did you do this or was this just improm to you at this press conference? >> there is a firearms review that is ongoing and obviously we'll take into account the heller decision. but the administration's not taken a position with regard to reinstituting the assault weapons ban. >> all right. i thank you very much for your information. i do have a few additional questions i'd like to submit to the record, mr. chairman. >> of course. >> thank you. >> weep keep the record open throughout this -- we'll keep the record open throughout this week. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i understand, mr. attorney general, you had exchanges with senator graham and feinstein and koh will the issue of prolonged detention and i chaired a hearing on this topic last week and would simply urge you and the department to consider the various legal and
quote quote quote quote
policy concerns that are involved. any system of indefinite detention raises those kind of issues. i would say even with the kind of due process protections that you discussed. i do think this done a -- could be a very big mistake, especially because of how such a system could be perceived around the wormed, frankly after some of the progress that the administration is making to the president's good work in our relationships around the world. another topic, i wrote to the president on monday about my continued concern that the administration has not formally withdrawn legal opinions, including the january, 2006, white paper that provided legal justifications for the bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program. and the letter was prompted in part by a recent speech that i'm sure you're aware of by the director of national intelligence. and which he asserted that the program was not illegal but he later clarified that. in a speech to the american constitution society in june,
2008, you, sir, said the following, i never thought i would see the day when a president would act in direct defines of federal law by authorizing warrantless n.s.a. surveillance of american citizens and the president himself several times as a senator and during the campaign said the program was illegal. now that you are the attorney general, is there any doubt in your mind that the warrantless wiretapping program was illegal? >> well, i think that the warrantless wiretapping program as it existed at that point was certainly unwise in that it was put together without the approval of congress and as a result did not have all the protections, all the strength that it might have had behind it as i think it now exists with regard to having had congressional approval of it. so i think that the concerns that i expressed in that speech no longer exist because of the action that congress has taken. >> but i asked you, mr. attorney general, not whether it was unwise but whether you consider it to have been
illegal. because that's certainly the implication of what you said in the quote i read and the explicit statement of the man who is now president of the united states. >> well what i'm say something in that speech is i thought the action that the administration had taken was inconsistent with the dictates of fisa and i think i used the word contra invention. and as a result i thought that the policy was an unwise one and i think that the concerns that i expressed then had
really been remedied by the fact that congress has now authorized -- >> did you think it was illegal? >> well, i thought that, as i said, it was inconsistent with the fisa statute and unwise as a matter of policy. >> has something happened that's changed your opinion since your june, 2008, statement that would make it hard for you to just simply say what the president said, that it's illegal? >> no, i don't think so and don't think what what i'm saying now is necessarilyistist ept with what i said at the --
necessarily inistent with what i said. >> it sounds awfully mild compared to some very clear statements and very important principle here which is not only that this has to do with the scope of the fisa law but the underlying constitutional issue that people like me, many people, believe that if the statute is that explicit under the third test, under justice jackson's test, that it is in fact unconstitutional for the president and illegal, of course, for the president to override the express will of the congress. >> yeah, as i said, i think i said contra invention of, inconsistent with, i'm not sure i used the term
illegal. i adhere to what i said then. i think what i'm saying now is consistent with what i said in the speech. >> well, that may well be, but i'd hope you'd use the word illegal now and i request in the letter i sent to the president on monday and also a letter draped april 29 that the administration withdraw the january, 2006, white paper and other classified memos
providing legal justification of the program. i know you've initiated a review of the bush memos and certain memos that authorize torture have been withdrawn. apparently you discussed this already with senator feinstein. what is the status of your review of the memos concerning the warrantless wiretapping program? >> well, i asked the office of legal council to review these prior opinions, including those that deal with surveillance with a goal of making as many of these opinions public as we can, consistent with our national security interests and also consistent with ensuring that robust debate can happen within the executive branch. it is my hope that that process, which is ongoing, will lead to the release of several opinions in a relatively short period of time. >> i just want to reiterate how important it is for the legal justification for this program to be withdrawn, concern these memos that make unsupportable claims of executive power will
come back to haunt us if they remain in effect and if you believe as i think the president has indicated in the past that the program was illegal, they cannot stand. in his national security speech on may 21 at the national archives, the president indicated that he is concerned about the overuse of state secret privilege. he stated the administration is undertaking a thorough review of the practice and said that each year, we will voluntarily report to congress when we have invoked the privilege and why because as i said before there must be proper oversight of our actions, unquote. i've been seeking a crassified briefing about the three cases in it has continued to assert the state's secret privileges. these are controversial cases and i want to understand why they're asserting the privilege. as you know, state seek receipts legislation is before
the committee. i think my request is consistent with the president's desire to cooperate with oversight. will you make sure that i can receive this briefing? >> i'll try to get the information to you, senator. what we're trying to do is look at the state secrets issue in such a way that we're looking in two ways. one, to see whether or not the doctrine was properly invoked with regard to the 20 or so cases in which it has been used and then what can we do going forward. we have some proposals that we have been working on that i think we're going to make public in a matter of days, that we would put forth for consideration by this committee and by congress, generally about the way in which we think we should handle the state secret issue. >> is there any reason i can't get this briefing at this time in? >> we'll try to get the information to you. >> i thank you, mr. attorney general. >> thank you. senator hatch. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, general. happy to have you here. we know you have a difficult job and we always want to be helpful to you if we can. but last week, there's
something that really bothers me over the last week. the f.b.i. in cooperation with the department of justice arrested 19 utahans trafficking indian art facts from federal lands. now i'm extremely concerned by the manner in which these warrants were executed. they came in full combat gear, swat team gear like they were going after, you no he, the worst drug dealers of the world and in the process, now, i don't believe anybody should be taking int -- indianian art facts, but in the process, one of the leading figures in the whole county down there which is a leading doctor, delivered almost everybody who lived in the county as a doctor, committed suicide. he was by all intents and purposes an outstanding member of the community, a deept, honorable man, critical to the community from a health and welfare standpount and the way they came in there, i mean, you
know, i have no problem with going after people who violate the law. but they came in there like they were the worst criminals on earth and in the process, this man, it became overwhelming to him, i suppose, a really strong individual, good person, commits suicide. now, you know, and it this -- immediate reports state that over 100 federal agents were used in this operation. now that extreme show of force and presence has been received by the community out there and specific leaders as not only unnecessary but brutal. now, i am questioning the motivation of some of the higher ups in justice. and of the interior. the day after these raids were conducted, secretary salazar and deputy attorney general august den appeared before the media touting how successful this investigation was. i've been in the senate now my 33rd year and i felt like it was a dog and pony show to me
and i know when when one when i see it. this has all the classic signs of one. and the offenses for which these warrants were issued were nonviolent offenses. one has to think that the man power and resources allocated in this operation are usually reserved for arresting truly violent felons. now let me contrast this case and compare it to another federal sweep that happened in north texas after a two-year investigation, the f.b.i. arrested 17 people involved in a large drug trafficking organization that extended from texas to massachusetts. the f.b.i. seized cash, weapons, real estate, vehicles, the f.b.i. officials say that this ring allegedly distributed $22 million in cocaine. ironically there was not a mainly press event regarding the drug sweeps on which the attorney general addressed the media. and i guess what i'm saying, i know you well, we've been friends all these years, i have great respect for you, we may